Overview of Acts

Acts 1:1-3 — Jesus appeared to His disciples several times during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension. These appearances confirmed that He had been raised from the dead. On these occasions He taught them about the kingdom of God.

Acts 1:4-26 — Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received God’s promise of power. God would send the Holy Spirit to empower them to be His witnesses. Afterward Jesus ascended into heaven and his followers returned to Jerusalem where they elected Matthias to replace Judas.

Acts 2:1-13 — The Holy Spirit came to the disciples during the Jewish festival of Pentecost. The Spirit enabled them to speak in languages they did not know to people from all over the Roman Empire.

Acts 2:14-36 — Peter explained to the crowd that the disciples’ behavior was the result of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. He then proclaimed the story of Jesus’ life, crucifixion, and resurrection.

Acts 2:37-47 — Peter announced that those who placed their faith in Christ would receive forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Three thousand responded, were baptized, and became a part of the church. The members of the church worshiped God and cared for one another in practical ways.

Acts 3:1-10 — As Peter and John were on their way to the temple complex to pray, a lame man asked them for help. Instead of giving alms, they gave the man something far greater—his health. The healed man went about praising God and attracted a large crowd.

Acts 3:11–4:22 — Peter preached the gospel to the curious crowd. He indicted them for having crucified Jesus and called them to repentance. The religious authorities arrested Peter and John and called them to account for their actions. Peter proclaimed Jesus as the only way of salvation and vowed to continue preaching in spite of threats to do otherwise.

Acts 4:23-31 — Upon their release, Peter and John reported to the church all that had happened. The church prayed for boldness and was again filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to preach the gospel.

Acts 4:32–5:16 — The believers demonstrated their love and unity by sharing their resources with those in need. Barnabas sold property and gave the proceeds to assist believers in need. Ananias and Sapphira also sold property but only pretended to give the proceeds—an act which cost them their lives. The apostles continued to minister and the church continued to grow.

Acts 5:17-42 — The religious leaders had the apostles arrested for preaching but an angel freed them from jail. They continued to preach in the temple complex and were arrested again. Even though they were flogged and warned to stop, they continued to speak about Jesus.

Acts 6:1-15 — A dispute arose in the Jerusalem church about the distribution of food to widows. The church selected seven laymen, including a man named Stephen, to assist with this practical ministry need. Stephen also performed signs and wonders that incited opposition from members of the Freedman’s Synagogue who accused Stephen of blasphemy.

Acts 7:1-53 — Stephen defended himself and his beliefs concerning Christ by appealing to Jewish history. He illustrated how the Jews had failed to see what God was doing in their midst and how they had killed the prophets. He charged the members of the Sanhedrin with the betrayal and murder of Jesus.

Acts 7:54–8:3 — Unable to refute his defense, Stephen’s opponents took him out of the city and stoned him. As he was dying, Stephen sought forgiveness for those stoning him. His death resulted in persecution against the church and launched a young man named Saul on a personal campaign against the church.

Acts 8:4-8 — Stephen’s death resulted in persecution against followers of Christ in Jerusalem. The strong winds of persecution carried the gospel seed to regions beyond Jerusalem. Philip escaped by going to a city in Samaria where he took advantage of the opportunity to preach the Messiah to them.

Acts 8:9-25 — The attention and so-called magical powers of a sorcerer named Simon presented a special challenge to Philip. However, instead of being intimidated, Philip presented the gospel to Simon’s followers. Many of them confessed their faith and were baptized.

Acts 8:26-40 — God directed Philip to leave the harvest in Samaria to a lonely desert road where he encountered an Ethiopian official. Philip took advantage of this special opportunity to spread the gospel by doing as God directed in meeting and conversing with the Ethiopian and leading him to faith in Christ.

Acts 9:1-9 — Saul was deeply committed to the destruction of the church. While on his way to persecute believers in Damascus he was blinded by a bright light. Saul fell to the ground and heard the voice of the risen Lord. Jesus instructed Saul to proceed to Damascus and await further instructions.

Acts 9:10-19 — God instructed Ananias to go to Saul and lay his hands on him to restore his sight. The Lord explained to Ananias the key role that Saul would play in the spread of the gospel. Ananias obeyed and Saul regained his sight and was baptized.

Acts 9:20-31 — Paul began speaking to his fellow Jews in Damascus about Jesus. Some of the Jews plotted to kill him so he escaped Damascus by night. When he returned to Jerusalem, the believers there were skeptical about his conversion. However, Barnabas convinced them that Saul’s conversion was genuine. As Saul continued to preach, the Jews in Jerusalem plotted to kill him, so he left Jerusalem and returned to his hometown of Tarsus.

Acts 9:32-43 — Peter visited believers in Lydda and Joppa where he healed a paralyzed man and raised a woman named Tabitha (Dorcas) from the dead.

Acts 10:1-16 — At Caesarea, a Roman centurion named Cornelius had a vision in which an angel instructed him to send for Peter. In Joppa, Peter had a vision in which he was instructed three times to kill and eat unclean animals. Peter protested on the basis that he had never violated Jewish dietary laws.

Acts 10:17-48 — While Peter contemplated the meaning of the vision, Cornelius’ messengers arrived to escort Peter back to Caesarea. Peter accompanied the men and preached the gospel to those assembled in Cornelius’ home. God poured out His Holy Spirit on these Gentile believers who then were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Acts 11:1-18 — Peter returned to Jerusalem where he gave an account of his experience to the Jerusalem Church. He told of how the Holy Spirit had come on those who responded to the gospel in Cornelius’ home. His testimony convinced them that God had granted salvation to Gentiles who believed in Jesus. The church praised God for His work among the Gentiles.

Acts 11:19-26 — Some of the Jewish believers who fled Jerusalem after Stephen’s death settled in Antioch where they preached the gospel to fellow Jews. Others preached the gospel to Gentiles resulting in many conversions. Barnabas recruited Saul to help him teach and encourage these new believers.

Acts 11:27-30 — A prophet named Agabus predicted that there would be a severe famine throughout the Roman Empire, including Judea. The church at Antioch collected a special offering for their brothers in Judea and recruited Barnabas and Saul to deliver it to the elders in Jerusalem.

Acts 12:1-25 — King Herod Agrippa arrested and executed James, the first of the apostles to be martyred. Then he arrested and imprisoned Peter. While the church prayed for Peter an angel miraculously released him from prison. Peter went to the home of John Mark’s mother where he was reunited with other believers. King Herod later was struck with an illness that took his life. The church continued to grow in spite of persecution.

Acts 13:1-3 — The Holy Spirit told the church at Antioch to set apart Barnabas and Saul for a specific work to which He had called them. The church fasted, prayed, and commissioned these men to serve as missionaries.

Acts 13:4-12 — Barnabas and Saul sailed to the island of Cyprus where they proclaimed the gospel in a Jewish synagogue. There they confronted a sorcerer who opposed their work and led a government official to faith in Christ.

Acts 13:13-52 — Paul and Barnabas sailed next to Pamphylia, where John Mark left them to return to Jerusalem. In Pisidian Antioch, Paul preached before Jews and converts to Judaism. The following Sabbath they preached again but soon encountered opposition from Jewish leaders who drove them from the region.

Acts 14:1-20 — Paul and Barnabas traveled to Iconium where many Jews and Gentiles came to faith in Christ. Once again, unbelieving Jews stirred up opposition against them and forced them to flee to Lystra. There they healed a lame man and were thought to be the incarnation of the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes. Jews from Pisidian Antioch and Iconium stirred up the crowd to stone Paul. He survived the stoning and traveled to Derbe with Barnabas where they led many to faith in Christ.

Acts 14:21-28 — Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps, strengthened new believers, and appointed leaders in the churches they started in Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch. They returned to Syrian Antioch where they reported to the church all that God had done.

Acts 15:1-3 — Paul and Barnabas argued and debated with some Jerusalem Jews who taught that circumcision was necessary for salvation. Unable to resolve the controversial issue, the church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas and others to discuss the matter with the leaders of the Jerusalem church.

Acts 15:4-12 — The Jerusalem church welcomed Paul and Barnabas and listened to their report of what God had done among the Gentiles on their missionary journey. The opposition party insisted that Gentiles must first be circumcised and observe the law of Moses in order to be saved. Peter affirmed that Jews and Gentiles are saved in the same way—through the grace of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 15:13-21 — James cited a passage from the book of Amos that clearly indicated that the salvation of the Gentiles was part of God’s divine plan. Gentiles did not need to become Jews before becoming Christians. James recommended that Gentile believers observe some basic food considerations and abstain from sexual immorality.

Acts 15:22-35 — The Jerusalem church sent Judas and Silas with Paul and Barnabas to deliver their decision in an official letter to the church at Antioch. The church at Antioch rejoiced when they read the letter.

Acts 15:36–16:5 — When preparing for the second missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement about whether to allow John Mark to accompany them. Unable to come to an agreement, Barnabas took John Mark with him departed for Cyprus. Paul chose a new traveling companion named Silas and later a young man named Timothy.

Acts 16:6–17:15 — God providentially led Paul to Troas where he had a vision of a Macedonian man appealing for help. Paul and his companions concluded that God was calling them to take the gospel to regions beyond Asia. Paul preached the gospel and encountered opposition in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Beroea.

Acts 17:16-34 — Some Beroean believers escorted Paul to Athens, a city lined with idols. While there, Paul was invited to address a meeting of the Areopagus, a council made up of philosophers and intellectuals who spent their time discussing and debating ideas. Paul spoke about Christianity’s uniqueness and of the importance of believing in Jesus Christ.

Acts 18:1-18 — Paul visited Corinth where he met and worked with a couple named Aquila and Priscilla. He stayed in Corinth for a period of 18 months, preaching to both Jews and Gentiles.

Acts 18:19-22 — Paul left Corinth and sailed to Ephesus where he spoke in the synagogue. Paul left Ephesus, although the Jews there asked him to stay longer, and traveled on to Caesarea. He greeted the church there and then went down to Antioch.

Acts 18:23–19:7 — Priscilla and Aquila assisted an eloquent speaker named Apollos to have a better understanding of Christianity. With their help, Apollos became a powerful witness in Ephesus and Corinth. Paul met twelve disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus and explained to them the meaning of Christian baptism.

Acts 19:8-12 — Paul spent three months teaching at a synagogue in Ephesus. Afterward he lectured daily in a public hall for a period of two years. During that time many in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord and witnessed extraordinary miracles.

Acts 19:13-20 — Seven sons of a Jewish priest unsuccessfully tried to cast out evil spirits. The report of their failure and humiliation spread throughout the area. As a result, many of the Ephesian converts who had practiced magic publicly burned their magic books and made a clean break with their past. The gospel message continued to spread and flourish.

Acts 19:21-41 — An Ephesian silversmith named Demetrius, who made idols of the Greek goddess Artemis, stirred up trouble against Paul. He convinced other craftsmen that Paul and his message were a threat to their business and to the local economy. A riot followed in which two of Paul’s companions were seized. The city clerk spoke to the crowd and urged them to use legal channels to air their grievances. Afterward he dismissed the mob.

Acts 20:1-38 — Paul traveled from Ephesus to Troas where he revived a young man who had fallen out of a third story window. He then traveled to Miletus and sent for the Ephesian elders to join him there. Paul spoke about his time of service in Ephesus and his determination to go to Jerusalem, He then charged the elders to keep watch over the church and bid them a tearful farewell.

Acts 21:1-14 — When Paul and his companions arrived at Tyre, some disciples there warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem. Later, while staying at the home of Philip the evangelist in Caesarea, a prophet named Agabus strongly warned Paul about the danger awaiting him in Jerusalem. In spite of these warnings, Paul said that he was willing to die in Jerusalem, if necessary, for the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 21:15-29 — Paul arrived in Jerusalem and reported to James and the elders about all that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. These leaders told Paul about widespread rumors that he had encouraged people to abandon the law and the practice of circumcision. When Paul took steps to dispel these rumors, he was seized by an angry mob at the temple.

Acts 21:30–22:22 — Paul was rescued from certain death by the Roman regiment stationed in a fortress adjacent to the temple. Paul asked the Roman commander for permission to address the angry crowd. He then shared his impressive Jewish credentials, his conversion experience, and his call to take the message of salvation to the Gentiles. The mention of “the Gentiles” once again stirred the crowd into a mad frenzy.

Acts 22:23–23:22 — The Roman commander ordered that Paul be scourged in order learn the reason why the mob wanted to kill him. Paul escaped this scourging by disclosing that he was Roman citizen. The commander then arranged for Paul to speak to the Sanhedrin. Paul declared his Pharisaic heritage and belief in the resurrection. The mention of the resurrection led to a fierce argument between the Pharisees and Sadducees on the council. Later, more than 40 Jews formed a plot to kill Paul. Paul’s nephew learned of this plot and reported it to the Roman commander.

Acts 23:23-35 — Concerned for Paul’s safety, the Roman commander arranged for Paul to be taken from Jerusalem to Caesarea under cover of night. An armed escort transferred Paul to the custody of Felix, the Roman governor in Caesarea. Felix agreed to hear Paul’s case when his accusers arrived and ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.

Acts 24:1-27 — Paul’s accusers arrived five days later. His opponents hired a lawyer named Tertullus to represent their case. Tertullus spoke on behalf of Ananias the high priest and others who wanted to see Paul discredited and destroyed. However, his eloquent presentation of the false charges against Paul failed to win a favorable verdict. Instead, Paul’s brilliant defense won him a reprieve from Felix. For the next two years, Paul had numerous opportunities to speak on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus with Felix and his wife.

Acts 25:1-22 — Festus succeeded Felix as governor and reopened the case against Paul. Paul’s enemies were still fervent in their resolve to destroy him. They presented their false charges and asked for a judgment against Paul. Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen and was granted the opportunity for a hearing before Caesar. Festus later discussed Paul’s case with King Agrippa, a descendant of Herod the Great. Festus arranged for Agrippa to hear Paul himself.

Acts 25:23–26:32 — Paul appeared before Agrippa, his sister Bernice, and Festus. Festus asked for Agrippa’s help in determining how the legal charges against Paul should be expressed in writing to the Emperor. Paul presented his Jewish credentials, spoke about his persecution of believers, and shared his personal conversion experience. Agrippa heard and resisted the truth and then left the room.

Acts 27:1-44 — Paul set sail for Rome in winter along with other prisoners. Sensing that the voyage was in danger, Paul warned the centurion in charge of the prisoners. Ignoring Paul’s warning, the ship encountered a severe storm and eventually ran aground off the island of Malta. All those on board made it safely to land as Paul had foretold.

Acts 28:1-10 — The people of the island showed extraordinary kindness to Paul and the other survivors. They were amazed that Paul was bitten by a viper but suffered no harm and said he was a god. Paul showed kindness to the people of the island by healing many who had diseases.

Acts 28:11-29 — After spending three months on the island, Paul finally arrived in Rome where he was placed under house arrest. Although he could not leave his rented quarters, Paul invited the local Jewish leaders to meet with him. He declared his innocence and also talked to them about the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ. Some of those who listened were persuaded by Paul’s message and others did not believe.

Acts 28:30-31 — Paul spent two years under house arrest in Rome but took advantage of the opportunity to invite people to his meet with him. He boldly proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ. As a result, many believed God’s message of salvation through Christ and the gospel continued its advance in Rome and beyond.

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